MORE than 200 buses are to be fitted with new technology to improve air quality and cut harmful engine emissions.

The £3.8m Government scheme will see buses operating on routes in Newcastle, Gateshead, and North and South Tyneside all updated so thousands of commuters and residents can breathe cleaner air. Some routes also stretch into Northumberland, Sunderland and Durham spreading the benefits of cleaner technologies.

The NECA (North East Combined Authority) working with local authorities and Nexus coordinated a bid to the Government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund in November last year.

NECA is composed of County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

These routes run along some of the most congested and polluted corridors in the region.

Cllr Nick Forbes, Chair of NECA’s Transport North East Committee, said: “This is a major boost for thousands of passengers and thousands of people who live near busy roads that can suffer from poor air quality.

“The £3.8m of funding is approximately ten per cent of all the funding that was being made available by the Government and this a good win for everybody as these buses are used on many routes.

“NECA, Nexus and the local authorities will be working closely with three of the region’s operators to deliver the changes and help make our air cleaner.”

Clean Bus Technology Fund 2017 to 2019 winners Number of buses  2017/18 funding 2018/19 funding
Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council 79 £828,000 £674,180
North Tyneside Council 69 £862,600 £339,000
South Tyneside Council 29 £232,500 £252,000
Newcastle City Council 43 £180,000 £510,000
Totals 220 £2,103,100 £1,775,180

The bus companies (Arriva North East, Go North East and Stagecoach) delivering the changes.
will be able to use the money to buy the new technology to be fitted to their vehicles over the next 12 months.